The time change last weekend gave us an hour and the opportunity to sleep in.
At least for the population without young children, this had the potential to lead to a lie-in.
For most parents, however, it’s just a reminder that kids have other priorities.
For example, small babies will have missed the hour change memo and therefore their usual body clock time will have dictated their waking time, so they will have woken up regardless of what time the actual clock is showing.
Once your toddler was awake, there was certainly no indication that they could spend an extra hour in bed getting some rest! So parents may not have benefited from the clocks going backwards.
In fact, changing the clocks in autumn and spring is mostly annoying for parents because it can disturb their child’s sleep.
The shift forward in March means lighter evenings, which can make it harder for children to fall asleep as the extra daylight can affect their circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms are the body rhythms we typically experience in sync with bright day and dark night that signal wakefulness and sleepiness.
The shift back in class that happened last weekend means darker evenings, and theoretically this should signal your child’s sleep cues to feel lighter and be able to fall asleep.
But because most parents are driven by actual time (we need to get kids to daycare, preschool, or school, or get ourselves to work, or organize kids to be at various extracurricular activities at set times), we now have these bi – annual disruption of bedtimes.
If you’ve been used to tucking your four-year-old into bed at 7pm so he’s asleep by 7:30pm, sticking to the same time tonight will actually keep him up an hour longer.
Her body clock, or circadian rhythm, is set to fall asleep at the exact time you are trying to start her bedtime routine, causing her to be overtired and find it harder to actually fall asleep.
The sooner we set daylight saving time and stick to the same time all year round, the better. Children, especially young children, thrive on routine and the predictability that comes with it.
Disrupting this routine usually costs more tears, tantrums, or excitement. Research has shown that bedtime routines are important in helping young children fall asleep and sleep better.
A 2015 study examined the association between consistent bedtime and sleep outcomes in young children in a large global sample of over 10,000 families.
These researchers found that bedtime routines caused children to fall asleep earlier and faster than children who did not have a consistent bedtime routine. These children also slept longer and woke up less frequently at night.
If you’ve ever looked for a justification for a good bedtime routine, this study could be your motivation.
Last year, a group of researchers took the trouble to conduct an in-depth review and discussion involving 59 experts from a range of disciplines, including psychology, medicine, public health, politics, education, nursing, midwifery, health visitation and sociology. to determine an optimal bedtime for young children.
The “gold standard” routine they propose includes all of the following:
- calmly dealing with activities such as playing together, cuddling, singing or bathing in the last hour before bedtime;
- avoidance of all electronic devices and stimulating activities;
- Avoiding snacks and drinks in the hour before bedtime;
- Brush your teeth and wrap up by reading or sharing a book, or just telling a story before the lights go out.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this kind of routine seems more desirable than achievable.
Most parents I know might struggle to actually find an hour a day to relax with their kids, given the many competing demands on their own time or their kids’ time.
Perhaps it will comfort you to know that another study from last year found that just over half of the families surveyed achieved key elements like brushing their teeth, doing some relaxation activities, and maintaining a consistent bedtime. Few families (eight percent) refrain from electronic devices in the hour before bed.
This suggests that in the real world, most of us do our best to keep things consistent and routine at bedtime, but there’s a limit to how successfully we can do this all the time.
Since bedtime routines are so important to sleep, we hope Daylight Saving Time is a thing of the past so our routines are easier to stick to.
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/clocks-going-back-throwing-a-spanner-in-works-at-bedtime-try-these-expert-tips-to-get-your-kids-to-sleep-all-night-42111818.html Declining clocks putting a wrench in work before bed? Try these expert tips to get your kids to sleep all night